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COA reverses denial of petition to dismiss protective order

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A Jackson Superior Court erred in denying a couple’s request to dismiss a protective order the wife had taken out against her husband, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the statute contains the word “shall” regarding the court’s actions when one files for a dismissal of the protective order.

Indiana Code 34-26-5-12, which governs the dismissal of protective orders, says “If a petitioner: (1) files a written request for dismissal with a court; or (2) makes an oral request on the record to dismiss the case in open court; the court shall without delay or any conditions dismiss the case without prejudice.”

Tiffany Spencer had a protection order granted against her husband Revas Spencer after alleging she was a victim of domestic violence. A month later, she sought dismissal of the order, which the trial court denied. The next month, the trial court denied the Spencers’ agreed order dismissing order of protection.

“As the word ‘shall’ appears in the statute regarding the trial court’s actions when the petitioner files for the dismissal of an Order of Protection, the trial court did not have discretion to deny the parties’ request to dismiss the protective order,” Judge Melissa May wrote in the four-page opinion in Revas Spencer v. Tiffany Spencer, 36A04-1211-PO-605.

 

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